Edinburgh 2014: part 1

This year's Edinburgh was a bit of an experiment: go up early and bag some free tickets. Yes, groan! Free means crap usually, doesn't it? Anyway, I was willing to take a chance - besides I couldn't find any really cheap rail fares, so it was £33 up and £15.85 back from Kings X with another £20 on the fare from Brighton to St Pancras and back (bad move, more later).

Edinburgh tram on Princes Street

I arrived on Tuesday 29th July, met Sam and had a quiet night in. Next day it was to the Mound by bus and a trip on the new tram to the stop before the Airport. The tram journey was included in my £3.50 day ticket (hooray!), but if you go all the way to the airport, which you could see from Ingliston Park & Ride, it'd cost a fiver. The trams are badly laid out for the casual viewer as the driver is so high up you can't see out the front.

  On an Edinburgh tram

 Went back all the way to York Place then popped in to the National Portrait Gallery to check out the Ruskin (with Sam's Friend card) and John Byrne (Tilda Swinton) exhibitions, use their loo and have a coffee! Walked through St Andrews Square where they were erecting a Spiegeltent for the Stand, and after a pint of Munro Mild at the Abbotsford on Rose Street met Sam and Teege to see Steen Raskopoulos at the Wee Coo (20.10), a shouty Australian with a little too much audience participation in his act for my liking. Nobody was safe!

Most pierced woman in the world

Thursday 31 July, I visited the Writers' Museum off the Royal Mile, a really interesting building, but dull exhibits, apart from the printing press at the top of the stairs (no photography allowed!). Walked down the Royal Mile and spotted Elaine Davidson, the most pierced woman in the world. Ended up at the Pleasance and got some free tickets for The only way is Downton (18.20, Pleasance Above, Luke Kempner), which I enjoyed but Sam hadn't ever seen it so was mystified. The impressions were excellent except for Richard Osman in a Pointless segment. Then it was Luke McQueen at 20.00 in Bunker Two, who did the whole act in his underpants, baked beans dribbling down his chest. This involved far too much audience being picked on, tho one punter refused to play ball!

David Shrigley at the Mound

Friday 1 August, I got the bus to the Mound and visited the Scottish National Gallery (front bit) which was given over to Generation: 25 years of Contemporary Art in Scotland. The David Shrigley room was the best tho I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the show. It continued at the Modern Art Museum, so i got the 2pm Gallery Bus (now a cramped minibus) out of town. Tip: get there early to get a seat, and it no longer stops at the Portrait Gallery.

 Gallery bus

I gave the American Impressionism show at the former Dean, now Two, a miss, checked out more Generation and had a coffee in the grounds behind the gallery. Back at the Mound, I popped in to the back bit to see the permanent collection and The Art of Golf downstairs, which had some nice railway posters in it.

Installation at the Modern Art Museum

That evening we had sushi with Belle and Adam at Kanpai, where I was presented with a customised bottle of 'Clear yer Pipes' green chilli sauce from Big Red's Chilli Company, and cocktails at Monboddo, where the cast of River City were celebrating the opening of a play 3000 Trees directed by Libby McArthur. Jimmy Chisholm from Braveheart was also there.

More to follow...

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